Role of thrombin exosites in inhibition by heparin cofactor II

J Biol Chem. 1992 Feb 25;267(6):3613-7.


We determined the role of specific thrombin "exosites" in the mechanism of inhibition by the plasma serine proteinase inhibitors heparin cofactor II (HC) and antithrombin (AT) in the absence and presence of a glycosaminoglycan by comparing the inhibition of alpha-thrombin to epsilon- and gamma T-thrombin (produced by partial proteolysis of alpha-thrombin by elastase and trypsin, respectively). All of the thrombin derivatives were inhibited in a similar manner by AT, either in the absence or presence of heparin, which confirmed the integrity of both heparin binding abilities and serpin reactivities of epsilon- and gamma T-thrombin compared to alpha-thrombin. Antithrombin activities of HC in the absence of a glycosaminoglycan with alpha-, epsilon, and gamma T-thrombin were similar with rate constants of 3.5, 2.4, and 1.2 x 10(4) M-1 min-1, respectively. Interestingly, in the presence of glycosaminoglycans the maximal inhibition rate constants by HC with heparin and dermatan sulfate, respectively, were as follows: 30.0 x 10(7) and 60.5 x 10(7) for alpha-thrombin, 14.6 x 10(7) and 24.3 x 10(7) for epsilon-thrombin, and 0.017 x 10(7) and 0.034 x 10(7) M-1 min-1 for gamma T-thrombin. A hirudin carboxyl-terminal peptide, which binds to anion-binding exosite-I of alpha-thrombin, dramatically reduced alpha-thrombin inhibition by HC in the presence of heparin but not in its absence. We analyzed our results in relation to the recently determined x-ray structure of D-Phe-Pro-Arg-chloromethyl ketone-alpha-thrombin (Bode, W., Mayr, I., Baumann, U., Huber, R., Stone, S. R., and Hofsteenge, J. (1989) EMBO J. 8, 3467-3475). Our results suggest that the beta-loop region of anion-binding exosite-I in alpha-thrombin, which is not present in gamma T-thrombin, is essential for the rapid inhibition reaction by HC in the presence of a glycosaminoglycan. Therefore, alpha-thrombin and its derivatives would be recognized and inhibited differently by HC and AT in the presence of a glycosaminoglycan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antithrombins / pharmacology
  • Binding Sites
  • Cattle
  • Glycosaminoglycans / pharmacology
  • Heparin Cofactor II / pharmacology*
  • Hirudins / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology
  • Protein Conformation
  • Thrombin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Thrombin / metabolism*


  • Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones
  • Antithrombins
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Hirudins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • hirudin (53-64)
  • Heparin Cofactor II
  • Thrombin
  • phenylalanyl-prolyl-arginine-chloromethyl ketone